For this week's Grind column, I decided to walk into a coffee shop I had never been to, ask for a recommendation, and review it. This was clearly the best decision I have ever made, because it led me to discover the Dank-Dank (pronounced Daynk-Uh-Daynk). This secret off-menu gem is a Songbird Coffee original that is sure to delight coffee snobs and novices alike.
See also: 10 Best Coffee Houses in Metro Phoenix
Songbird had me at Hello. The shop is simultaneously comfy-cozy and impeccably curated. Edison bulbs, raw wood, and succulents season the space; it's essentially a living Pinterest board. But Songbird's friendly staff, house-made pastries, and (of course) the delicious drinks were what really pushed me head over heels.
The Dank-Dank consists of milk, honey, cinnamon, hazelnut syrup, and two shots of Cortez Coffee espresso. I made sure to try a shot on its own before indulging in the Dank-Dank. I found it remarkably un-offensive; cocoa powder, baking spices, and subtle earthiness dominate a straightforward flavor profile.
I suspect this espresso has a tendency toward heavier, more aggressively bitter notes, but the staff at Songbird managed to squeeze a little sweetness out of the shot. Barista Mariah (who is also the creator of the Dank-Dank) pulled her shots dexterously, never ceasing to chatter charmingly with her guests. Mariah stuck to her sweet, bubbly guns, even when a shirtless hooligan ran into the shop, deliberately knocked a bunch of stuff over, and ran screaming out the door.
The best part of eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch is drinking the milk at the end, and the best part of drinking the Dank-Dank is that every single sip of it tastes like Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk. And roasted marshmallows. And it's caffeinated!
The espresso blends in seamlessly with the other ingredients, lending a warm, toasty quality when it's needed and disappearing entirely when it's not. You won't find even a whisper of bitterness in this beverage. The drink is undeniably sweet, but not in a cloying way. It leaves the palate clean and refreshed. Also, saying "Dank-Uh-Dank" is really fun.
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This drink has the potential to unify all factions of the Great Coffee Shop Drink Divide: Espresso snobs will at the very least appreciate Songbird's expert execution, Chai Latte afficionados will love its sweet subtle spiciness, and even the Coffee Haters should give it a shot because it is probably the closest thing to Ambrosia you'll find on this side of Olympus.
(Just watch out for that angry shirtless dude.)